Left to right: Shawn Le’Tang and Charles Ensminger
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Two Valencia College employees were recently honored by the Orlando Magic with the Harris Hometown Hero recognition. Both gentlemen were scheduled to receive the recognition in March and April at a Magic game before the coronavirus outbreak caused the NBA to indefinitely postponed its season. The recognition typically goes to local first responders, firefighters, police officers, emergency medical workers and military personnel who go the extra mile to protect their communities.
Shawn Le’Tang, academic advisor, student disability services, enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private Second Class in 2008. After completing his Advanced Individual Training, he was awarded the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 15F, Aircraft Electrician. Shawn has one deployment tour to Camp Marmal, Afghanistan, where he served as an aircraft electrician, and one overseas tour to Camp Humphreys, in South Korea. Shawn was medically retired and ended his military career as a staff sergeant in 2017.
But he has done more than serve students and his country. Shawn, who earned his associate degree from Valencia College and later earned a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in defense and strategic studies from the University of Texas at El Paso, has also completed an estimated 480 volunteer hours at various locations in and outside of the military. This included Ocoee Elementary School; Child Youth Service and 127th Aviation Support Battalion in EL Paso; Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Center and Korean American Partnership Association (KAPA) Camp in Humphreys, South Korea; and many others.
“To be recommended and have the opportunity to be honored as a Hometown Hero by the Orlando Magic is truly a humbling and benevolent opportunity,” Shawn said, adding the opportunity “speaks volumes of an organization that recognizes the men and women who adorn their uniforms daily and show the country what selfless service is all about.”
Charles Ensminger, director, student development, joined Valencia in January of 2018. Prior to that, Charles was the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Washington.
Before joining the field of higher education, Charles was an active-duty enlisted service member in the United States Army, serving as a combat medic for 10 years. Enlisting in January of 2004, Charles began his military journey at Fort Carson Army Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he served as an emergency room medic. A little more than a year later, he was assigned to his first combat unit.
After dropping out of college in 1999, Charles returned to school in 2014 to complete his education and now holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in research-psychology, with a specialization in industrial-organizational psychology. He is currently a doctoral candidate in industrial and organizational psychology with Walden University.
Outside the College, Charles has served as a board member on the Thurston Group of Washington State; the Hispanic Roundtable; the FIRE Summit planning committee; and others. He has also served a coach for the Black Hills Youth Football League.
“I am truly appreciative. While I have never thought of my service to our nation and/or community as heroic, I am incredibly humbled that others do,” said Charles. “If anything, I hope that my service inspires others to serve by getting involved and giving back; our communities, states, and nation needs you.”